Technology Fuels Revenge of the Ex
CREDIT: Shutterstock: Martin Cormier
It can be great to take a risk with love, but that doesn't mean you should put your personal data in jeopardy. Security firm McAfee in a report released this week warned that rejected lovers pose a very real threat to their exes when it comes to online security.
Love is blind
In its survey of 1,182 online adults, 95 percent of respondents said they trust their partners with personal data. They share passwords to their online banking accounts, social security numbers and credit card numbers — pretty much the complete package to establish an online identity .
Couples also share sexy photos with each other. In fact, more than a third of Americans plan to send their partner sexy or romantic photos on Valentine's Day via text, email and social media. And one out of five people never bother deleting intimate messages and photos from their phones and computers.
Revenge is not always swift
But when couples split, trouble starts. One out of every 10 ex-partners will be threatened with exposure after a break-up. Lying, cheating and getting dumped were the reasons most frequently used to justify their revenge like posting compromising pictures of their exes online. And 60 percent make good on their threats.
In addition to sharing photos, spurned partners have frequently shared their ex's bank account numbers, health insurance IDs, Social Security numbers, email account logins and other passwords. Read more: Your Password Among the 25 Worst?
And even if an ex doesn't take action right away, he or she may continue to stalk a former partner long after the relationship is over. People track their ex-partners on Facebook more than they do their current partners, McAfee said.
Men are more likely to check up on their exes than women. Around 46 percent of men admitted to tracking their partner, ex-partner or partner’s ex on Facebook or Twitter, compared to 37 percent of women.
When personal data is leaked, guys are more likely to fight back to recover what was lost. A handful of respondents said they have taken legal action against former partners for exposing personal data, most confront their exes and demand they undo the damage.
However, once data or photos are shared online, there's really no way to control who sees them.
If you're currently in a relationship, you can take some simple steps to decrease your risk.
- Don't take revealing photos or allow them to be taken.
- Keep your passwords and other login information for your personal accounts to yourself.
- Don't send messages electronically that you wouldn't want the world to see.
- Put a passcode on your phone.
- And finally, delete old emails, photos and other messages from your social media accounts and your devices.